Do you know that due to teeth grinding, your teeth’ enamel can wear down and lead to a number of dental issues?
Teeth grinding or Bruxism is a condition that often occurs while you are asleep.
This is why it is often termed sleep or nocturnal bruxism.
While you grind your teeth, they rub against one another as your jaw forces either from side to side or back and forth.
However, an important thing here is in most cases, you might be aware of this condition.
On the other hand, teeth clenching is when you hold your teeth together and clench the muscles, but do not move your teeth back and forth.
In most cases, you can do both during the day and at night.
But sleep-related rruxism is more challenging as it is harder to control.
Myofascial muscle pain, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and headaches may also occur.
While severe cases can lead to arthritis of the temporomandibular joints.
Keep on reading to learn more about it.
Effects of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding or bruxism can wear down your teeth, which can become short, blunt, or fractured.
On the other hand, clenching your teeth puts pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other structures around your jaw.
Moreover, it can lead to jaw pain and stiffness, sore gums, sensitive, loose, or broken teeth, clicking or popping of the jaw, and a dull headache.
It can also cause earache because the structures of your temporomandibular joint are close to the ear canal.
They may also be referral pain, in which you can feel pain in different locations to its source.
Other key symptoms are anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and insomnia.
On the other hand, excessive bruxism can damage the occlusal surfaces of the teeth, particularly molars.
It can also contribute to temporomandibular joint, TMJ, syndrome.
It is important to note that in some cases, you may clench and grind your teeth without symptoms.
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Causes of Teeth Grinding
To this date, the cause of teeth grinding is not clear, however, many dentists and doctors are of the view that different actors may play a role.
In children, grinding often happens after their first teeth appear.
This happens again when their permanent teeth emerge.
It often stops once the adult teeth have erupted.
Moreover, clenching, and grinding often occurs at times of stress.
For instance, at times of anger, anxiety o depression, you may grind or clench your teeth.
Research suggests that brain activity and heart rate may also rise before an episode of bruxism, which suggests that your central nervous system or CNS plays a role.
Additionally, bruxism may also be related to the abnormal bite.
This means that your teeth do not meet properly when the jaw closes and is called Occlusla DIscerpency.
However, the American Academy of Oral Medicine notes that research has not proven this.
In some cases, the facial muscle may also spasm during sleep.
Having your teeth missing or crooked can also prompt your teeth to grind and it may be due to irritation.
Medications like e antidepressants, amphetamines, and antipsychotics may cause side effects: Bruxism.
Certain neurological conditions like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease may also cause it.
Certain factors like fatigue, alcohol consumption, smoking, sleep apnea, and snoring may also be related.
According to the figures of the National Sleep Foundation, about 8% of adults and between 14 to 20% of children under 11 years of age grind their teeth.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Some of the main signs and symptoms of teeth grinding are:
The sound of teeth grinding is loud enough to wake someone sleeping near you.
Flat, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth, worn tooth enamel, exposing the deeper layers of your tooth.
Tired or tight jaw, or in some cases locked jaw that won’t open or close, jaw, neck, or face pain and soreness.
Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek and sleep disruption.
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Diagnosing Teeth Grinding
Your doctor or Arabic female dentist will ask about your history and carry out an examination and look for:
- tooth wear
- enlarged jaw muscles
- jaw discomfort on waking
Certain factors like vigorously brushing your teeth, abrasives in toothpaste, acidic foods, soft drinks, and hard foods can wear your teeth down.
However, a trained professional can tell the difference between the characteristic wear pattern of each cause.
Moreover, one of the reliable methods to diagnose bruxism is through Electromyographic EMG measurements.
These pick up electrical signals from chewing the masseter and temporalis muscles, the ones you use for chewing.
On the other hand, if your child is grinding teeth, they may ask if they are worried about anything or if they are angry.
Moreover, they will ask about how they feel at bedtimes, to understand the causes of stress.
Treatment of teeth grinding depends on the cause of your condition.
There is no cure for this condition, however, there are options to relieve the symptoms and the underlying cause.
For daytime clenching or grinding, it may improve with an increase in awareness, physical therapy, or exercises.
However, in the case of Nocturnal bruxism, you may need strategies as it is out of your control.
If the underlying issue is stress or sleep apnea, treating them can help.
After the treatment, your situation will be reassessed.
According to a study, researchers found that treating sleep apnea helps to reduce the symptoms of bruxism.
Moreover, getting enough sleep or exercising regularly can also help.
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Possible Remedies for Teeth Grinding
The following remedies can help treat and prevent teeth grinding.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Mouthguards and Splints
Mouthguards are a kind of splint and they can help in case of sleep bruxism.
They work by cushioning your teeth and stopping them from grinding against one another.
Moreover, mouthguards are custom-made at the office of your dentist pr available over-the-counter. OTC
They come in varying degrees of thickness and specifically fit the size of your jaw and shape.
When purchasing OCT nighttime mouthguards, make sure they are made of soft plastic or one you can boil to soften.
This one is a dental procedure and can help to reshape or level the biting surface of your teeth.
Moreover, it may be effective if your teeth grinding is due to:
- crowded teeth
- misalignment of teeth
- crooked teeth
In some cases, a second procedure: Additive Coronoplatsy may help to build up the teeth.
Your dentist can perform either procedure depending on the condition.
Meta-analysis of 4 studies suggests that injections of botulinum toxin or botox can help to reduce pain and frequency of bruxism.
However, researchers who conducted a later stud suggest that more research is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of using this treatment for teeth grinding.
It is important to discuss the benefits and risks of botox treatment with your dentist before getting the.
During this procedure, your doctor will inject this solution into the masseter and help to relax this muscle.
Some of the other remedies for teeth grinding are:
This is a technique that helps you to become aware and eliminate a certain behavior.
Moreover, it can help to alleviate both sleep and awake bruxism.
During this, a biofeedback therapist will teach you how o control your jaw muscle movements through visual, vibratory, or auditory feedback.
This feedback is generated from electromyography.
According to a review, there may be short-term benefits when your doctor carries out this with contingent electrical stimulation.
However, more research is required to understand the benefits and effectiveness of this treatment.
In some cases, teeth grinding can be due to mental health illnesses like stress, depression, and anxiety.
Thus, stress reduction techniques can help and you can benefit your overall health.
- Meditation: This can help reduce stress and relieve anxiety, pain, and depression.
- Yoga: Yoga can help to reduce mild to moderate depression.
- Talk Therapy: Talking to a therapist or a trusted friend can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and stress. This is disturbing your daily life, talk to a psychiatrist and they can prescribe medications to help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Exercise: it can help reduce stress by producing feel-good endorphins. However, if you are new, begin slowly and try building daily activity into your life first.
Side Effects and Complications of Teeth Grinding
Some of the side effects and complications of teeth grinding are:
Headaches, pain in your face, jaw, or neck, wearing down and flattening of teeth, breakage of fillings and crowns, etc.
In extreme cases, problems like chewing, speaking, and swallowing can also occur.
The risk of complications may also increase if you have untreated bruxism for a long period of time.
Long term complications are:
Chronic earn and headaches.
Facial muscle enlargement, damage to the teeth that need dental procedures.
These include dental bonding. fillings, crowns, or bridges.
Moreover, it can cause temporomandibular joint disorders, TMJ.
Summing it Up
Teeth grinding is a common condition in both adults and children and is due to a number of causes.
Treating it early can help to avoid significant dental complications. Thus, you should ask your doctor or dentist as both are good sources for diagnosing and treating this condition